Friday, April 30, 2010

Another festival weekend

I will be at the Haw River Festival this weekend, this is truly the life. Hanging out, listening to great music, eating good food, seeing good friends and actually selling some pottery while I'm at it. There is an art sale at Southern Village this weekend as well and some of my very talented potter friends will be there, but the booth fee was ridiculous for me and the Haw River is much more my style. Good luck to those that will be at Southern Village! Here is a shot of Wesley and new bass player Daniel at Shakori last Thursday. I may or may not have time for blogging this weekend, if not everyone have a good one and I will check in as soon as I can.
BTW, thanks to Peter and Linda for the Creative Blogger and Silver Lining awards. I haven't had time to address that but I certainly appreciate your vote of confidence! I am supposed to nominate others for this, but that is a hard task and as a Libra I can't make choices so I may just have to say that I think all of you that I blog with deserve awards, stars, kudos, all of it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Raku Students

My lovely students came over today and fired the raku kiln. Ronnie and Kristen, we missed you! These girls are so great, they make me laugh, they make me cry, they keep me smart because they are so hungry to learn and are growing so fast with their work. The piece above was made by my one of my newest students, Bridgett who has been doing pottery for less than a year. Not too bad, huh! This post is mostly for them but you are certainly welcome to enjoy it as well!

Charlotte made this very cool cup that looks like it is buttoned up. It is a patchwork of pastel underglazes with a clear glaze over. Very nice.
This was Amber's first coil pot. Bad news is that it cracked quite a bit. Good news is that it cracked quite a bit. If this were functional pottery it would be a tragic loss, but with Raku it's a work of art! We all agreed that we loved it, Amber had to leave before we pulled it, and I am kinda glad she did, because the first sight of your piece being not what you intended can throw you for a moment until you decide ok, maybe I like it after all.
Ronnie couldn't be here, too much fun in Colorado, and she is resting! But what a cool idea she had to make these holes in this tray and then fill in with various glazes. It's like effervescence on a tray.

Bridgett tried out some glass and got some nice results and Charlotte got lots of these very nice carved vases. Charlotte also made the cutest turtle jar I have ever seen but my photo of it was over exposed. She had some nice pieces with burnished terra sig too and they were under exposed. Like I said, I are not photographer:)
So, it was a good day, everyone was happy and got some good results. We tried some new things with terra sig and underglazes and got some good results with that as well. Also learned a few lessons. I urge everyone to wear long pants, closed toe shoes, gloves and long sleeves for safety and today I proved why. Bridgett reached across the top port hole and her glove burnt, that would have been her skin and then I knelt down on a hot brick just pulled from the kiln and burned a hole in my jeans, that would have also been a hole in my skin. The kiln is a hot mofo at 1900 degrees and there is lots of fire everywhere. You cannot be too safe when you fire a Raku kiln. And absolutely NO beer until the kiln is shut off! and that is what I am doing right now, beer and blogging, YES!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where is my photographer?

The deadline for entering the NC Landscape show is Friday and where is my wonderful photographer/husband? Shooting (photographing) Tiger Woods, when I need him here shooting barns! I am left to my own skills, which are minimal at best, hope the juror is understanding!
Jen Mecca is getting some nice results with her new set up and I keep saying "I gotta get me one of them". Jen also posted a "day in the life" a few days ago and I have had one of those days, so I thought I would post one too. I think we should all do that, misery loves company. So here goes:
Up at 6am, Gerry left for the golf tournament to cover bad boy Tiger (why do we really care about this guy?) unloaded a bisque, checked in with the blog world, returned emails.
Packed Wesley's lunch, got her up, took her to school, left lunch on counter with my wallet, came back home, got lunch and wallet, back to school then to the garden center for veggies and herbs, it was freezing, brrrr, not enough clothes on. Stopped by Mickey D's for a very large tea, got home, unpacked the car, cleaned out the flower beds, made two teepee trellises for the tomatoes from some little trees we had cut down, planted veggies (oh, dog had crapped on the floor, forgot to let him out before I left, oops) cleaned that up, mopped the floor, took the rugs out side to hose off, ick. Cleaned my kiln area, class is coming to my house to fire tomorrow. Washed two loads of clothes, finished unpacking from Shakori, glazed a cone 6 load of baskets and trays, time to pick up Wes at school, came home and finished show application, re did resume, photographed barns, edited pics, burned a CD, packed up the app, went to the post office, missed the post office by 5 minutes so Wes will mail tomorrow for me, went to Torero's for tamales and a beer, home again, brought in rugs, went to the Artscenter to pick up glazes and some clay, back home, unpacked car, set up a glazing table for my class, washed dishes in sink, now I'm wrapping up this blog and heading for a shower. I forgot to eat lunch and I haven't brushed my hair since Sunday. Whew~! this is a pretty typical day.....sigh.
Oh yeah, while I was digging all of those holes? I dug up yellow clay and very very red orange clay in two different places. I just sat there and rolled some balls with it and dreamed of digging big pits in my yard and harvesting my own clay. Gerry would just love that :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Few of my Favorite Things

These two guys just went back in the kiln for a second firing. They just might be my most favorite things to date. The large one is a box and it took me three tries to get one that survived. They are inspired by all of the barns I have been photographing around Chatham County and I really like them a lot. I am entering them in a show called Scope: the North Carolina Landscape. I think they are appropriate for this show. Hope they make it in!
I like these little pinch pot cups a lot right now too, but they are a pain in the ass to make, can't see me staying on this one for too long, but we'll see.....
and then the little baskets, a la Judith Duff, so much fun to make and I think they are great for the upcoming Saxapahaw shows with the Farmer's Market/Music Series this summer. Perfect for strawberries or blueberries or chocolate!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wesley's weekend

I can't believe I have a 17 year old kid! I feel like a 17 year old kid! I love this picture I shot early Saturday morning, what a beautiful child I have :)
We had a little rain but not enough to stop the fun
The coffee barn is a good place for early morning chai and 2am hot chocolate. I like hanging out here more than any other place at Shakori. There is always a group of musicians gathered around playing fiddle, banjo, guitar and/or singing. I sat here at the porch early Friday morning when most everyone else was still sleeping and listened to a guitar playing in the background and felt truly blessed to have such a great life.

Here is the Jeff Martin painting Wesley picked out for her birthday. You might remember this from Jeff's blog.
Jeff has a great set up at Shakori and a loyal following. Here he is at his tent working on a new piece. He really inspired Wes and I'm sure we will have to go to the art store now and get some oil sticks. I think the painting she got will be very special to her for a very long time.
Jeff and Gerry are a lot alike and have many similar injuries from bikes and skateboards. They were comparing war wounds :) really funny, but it was great to finally meet after blogging together for so long and nice to have a new friend!
Here is my tent set up, I'll post more later, I have lots of photos but I gotta run get some work done right now!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

John Paul Jones

Home from Shakori. I have lots of photos and some fun video and lots of fun things to tell you but I have to get the photos on the computer. For now I'll just share a quick tale from Wesley.
She turned 17 today. She had a backstage bracelet for Shakori since she was a performer and she hung out on the stage a good part of the day today watching Bela Fleck and all the performers that were playing with him. Abigail Washburn was singing and mentioned John Paul Jones and looked over to the fellow Wesley was sitting beside. Wes came home and googled images of John Paul and sure enough she had been sitting beside him the whole time and didn't even know it. What a great way to spend your 17th birthday, sitting with the bass player for Led Zepplin and watching Bela Fleck. She also picked out a Jeff Martin painting for her birthday gift and it is a great one. I'll get some pics up tomorrow.

Shakori check in

Hi all:
Just a little check in from Shakori. I left Gerry and Wesley out there last night and came home for a little sleep and a shower. No sleep to be had there until 2-3am when the music finally stops, so I really needed a little break. Thursday and Friday had great weather, nice and cool, some sun. I sold one piece on Thursday and a few pieces on Friday and everyone told me how beautiful my things were and how I was going to do "really well" and blah, blah blah. I wasn't too upset about the low sales because I came there not having a clue what a festival crowd would buy and not willing to lower my prices for it. I am sure if I had lowered my prices I would have sold more. The 5 and 10 crowd are out there for sure, but I have quit making a lot of that price point. Most of the vendors had pretty slow sales as well the first two days.
Saturday brought rain and lots more sales strangely enough. Business was steady all day but again the lower priced items moved. Today it is likely to rain all day so who knows what will happen with sales. I have been having a blast though. I met some really great people, heard wonderful bands all day and night for three days, had some of the best Chai I have ever had.
Today is Wesley's 17th birthday and we will celebrate all day with good food and music and lots of our friends are out there so all is well, even if sales are slow. I expected that. I have some fun photos for tomorrow so check back. I'm off to shower and head back out to open my tent up. See ya!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Throw Down Your Heart

I thought the last blog post would be it for the week, but I just had to tell all of you about this DVD before I head out for Shakori. I picked up this DVD at the library Tuesday, since we are going to see Bela Fleck this weekend (can't wait). We saw him at Bonnaroo last year and it was one of the best performances I have ever seen. If you like music, if you play an instrument, if you sing, even if you don't, you HAVE to see this video. AMAZING! Check out the website here.
I got everything packed, tent is set up and I am heading back over tomorrow to unpack my pots. I have the most perfect location!!!! My tent is right in front of the Grove stage, so I will get to sit in my tent and watch every performance on that stage, so cool!
By the way, I have been picking up lots of great CDs and DVDs at the local library in Chapel Hill. What a great resource the library is. We are there almost every week. One of the best CDs I picked up this week is Ali Farka Toure. Try some of this while throwing on the wheel, I swear I threw the best pots I have ever thrown with this music playing!
So this is the last post until Monday, I am leaving the computer at home and going to enjoy some good music and hang out with the hippies for a while. I'll take lots of pics!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shakori Hills

I am packing up today for Shakori Hills Music Festival and will be out there setting up tomorrow and then.... let the fun begin! Come on out and see me. I will be there until Sunday evening, camping, selling pots and listening to some great music!!!! Last blog until next week, but I'm sure I will have lots of fun things to tell you after the weekend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sorta Shino

I think this will make a nice blueberry basket for the Farmer's Market this summer, don't you. This isn't exactly what I want eventually, but for now with the limitations of my kiln and my space it's about as good as it's gonna get. It's pretty close to looking like a wood fired American shino and I'll take it for now, until Brandon comes and builds that gas kiln on that farm I want :)
This bowl looks like a colander it has so many pinholes, but I like it, again it is getting close to looking like a shino that I want. There are lots more of the same, but I won't bore you with my very poor quality pictures that I shot quickly on the porch this morning. I have got to get a proper set up!
Here's a little pinch pot that I was messing with last week while waiting on the bisque, sort of an elephant. I smooshed ball clay and rutile into wet white slip, bisque fired, used a black oxide wash then fired to ^6. Still lots to work out until I am compeltely satisfied, but it's getting there. I need to fire up the Raku today, wish I was down in Seagrove but I have to set up at Shakori on Wednesday and there is still lots to do. I'm up early to get going, Happy Sunday all!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pinholes, yep, this

Wesley's band played at Clydefest today so we spent the day out with her and I didn't get a chance to photograph the kiln I unloaded at 7am this morning. I'll do it tomorrow because I have some nice things to show you. I worked on a very large house box yesterday that I am really excited about, although the roof part got too dry over night, guess I didn't wrap it as well as I thought and I broke it to bits today in a small fit I had. Oh well, I'll make another one.
In other news, yep I had lots of pinholes, I don't care, the forms are nice and the glazes are great so I am going to live with them and just tell people it costs extra to put in the pinholes! But the best part is I had a lightbulb moment after I unloaded and tried for the life of me to figure out what I was doing wrong. I have tried everything, my bisque is getting to be about 14 hours, lord! I soak the bisque at 1100 f, I sand the pots, wash the pots, the glaze was a commercial glaze, I soak the glaze fire near the end, used different clay bodies, blah blah blah...... and then I read this on digitalfire:
A very important factor to consider also is that modern industrial kilns supply a lot of airflow to the chamber and this carries away products of decomposition. If you are using a kiln without adequate ventilation then there may be not be enough oxygen available at the glaze surface to oxidize and carry away the carbon products of decomposition. Ventilation systems can be added to kilns but that does not mean they are adequate, the air may not be passing over all sections of the ware or at a great enough rate. Some industrial kilns have so much airflow that taller ware can actually blow over if it is not set correctly! If you are doing fast-fire this is critical, a fast fire kiln absolutely must have good air flow. If you are using an electric kiln without airflow, then expect glaze imperfections unless you are firing very slowly.

and that is when I realized there was one more thing that might be causing the problem. When I first got this kiln I had no pinholes at all. Then I went to a friend's house to see how they fired a reduction with the same kiln and I came home and cranked down the burner ports to 1/4 inch to allow for LESS OXYGEN! TADA, could this be my problem? Do you think that there is less ventilation going through the kiln? It seems that way to me, soooo, next firing I am opening those ports back to the way I had them and see if that does it, if not, I will be the famous pinhole potter haha!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's goin on

Here is a great barn for more inspiration. These barns are behind Chatham Mills in Chatham County and I really like the look of them. I'm tired today, got in around 1am from the Roman Candle concert at the Cat's Cradle. Those of you in Boone and Charlotte, they are coming to a bar near you, check them out. Also in Va. but can't remember where. They have a website and a myspace so visit them there, amazing band! Sorry to my class for being so spacy today! But we had a lot of laughs and these are the best group of girls, great energy and talent. My friend Charlotte has an injured right hand and I teased her and Amber that I could just tie them at the waist, I had two potters today that only have the use of one hand and they were still making great art! Thanks to all the new blogger comments, I am enjoying the new posts and visiting new blog sites. How many blogs can I add to my blog roll, I wonder! Everyone out there seems to be full on with making pots, Spring fever, brains are thawing from the long winter and lots of summer shows are coming up for everyone. I'm loving how busy everyone is and seeing all of your work. There are some bloggers out there that I haven't seen posting in awhile and I am missing them- Andrew, Hollis, Matt, where are you guys?!
Got a ^6 to fire tomorrow with mugs and bowls and I am going to try to get in one more bisque and a Raku before Wednesday, we'll see how that goes. Shakori is a week from today and I still have a lot I would like to make for it, but I think I have enough. Wish I could get down to Seagrove this weekend but it's not looking like that will happen. Wesley's band is playing in Bynum at Clydefest and I may even miss that. Gotta rock the pots right now!!!
Happy weekend everyone, keep up the great potting :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One of a kind

Yesterday as I was pulling random things from the raku kiln, Gerry commented that I was a one of a kind potter. Not like "wow, you are one of a kind" but wow, you only make one of everything.
He's right, I get an idea, and I work it out, test it, and then find I didn't like the idea enough to make a bunch of them, so I move on. I would really like to slow this pattern down a bit, make more with less forms, instead of a bunch of things that don't relate. I am getting close. I have found things that I do like making over and over, and have found things I know I won't make again. I really like making bowls and trays so those are going to stay, but all of this little stuff I have been using for testing has got to go. I want to get bigger pieces that have more substance. Another reason, unfortunately for making all the little stuff is the kind of festivals I'm drawn to. The folks at these festivals are going to want to buy little items that they can afford and can carry around at the festival. So, I have to work that out. I really like these houses and am developing that idea more and more. The mugs are coming along, and I have some pinch pot cups that I think are going to be pretty cool, we will see after I fire the next kiln. so, on with the process. After this push to get enough made for Shakori, I am going to inventory what works, what I like and what to put together as a more solid body of work. Off to get ready for my workshop today. We are going to see Roman Candle tonight at the Cat's Cradle. This is so cool, Wesley came home last week with three tickets for the show. How lucky are we as parents to have a teenager that brings home concert tickets so her parents can go with her and her friends. Blessed!
See ya!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Multi tasking

I can't for the life of me figure out why I did this, but I glazed all of this stuff while I fired four Raku cycles that I had also glazed. That was after I got Wes off to school, washed three loads of clothes, cleaned the bathrooms, cut Gerry's hair, unloaded the bisque kiln, washed and sanded the pots and ate breakfast. Whew.......... I have got to get this under control, it was way too much and I am pooped!

and after the Raku cooled off I loaded a ^6 for later in the week.
This is my turquoise glaze fried to pieces, but it turned out better than I thought, after I got over the shock of seeing red instead of green.
This was hard to photograph but this was the block I used the graffito paper on, it is really nice.
Remember these little dishes? They have terra sig on them, burnished and then fired to 1800 with no glaze, they look like river stones
I fried the crap out of these bowls. I don't know what happened except that maybe the pyrometer wasn't keeping up with the temp climb. I love the bottoms of them but the tops are really bad.
Good news is I can re fire. Below is a before and after, the tray on the right looked the same as the bowl on the left and I re fired it, good as new. That's the thing I like about Raku, just keep putting it back in the fire until you like it or it explodes. Speaking of explosions I lost quite a bit today. The bisque, I think was ok, as I was glazing I saw no pin holes like last time, and there were none in the Raku. But, I lost all of the houses I had in there. I don't know why, they were built really well to withstand a Raku fire, but they all fell apart, bummer.
Tomorrow I have a staff development workshop with some art teachers, Thursday I teach my class at the Artscenter, so the ^6 will have to wait until Friday. I will have to get in one more Raku fire over the weekend and possibly one more bisque. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to get work out, sigh............ gotta go American Idol is on!! Bye :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

House keeping

On my way up to the Judith Duff workshop last week, I passed an Antique Mall and my car just automatically veered off of the road and into the parking lot, so I had to get out and go in to take a look around :) I saw this amazing old bird house that looked similar to the house above, a bit larger than this one and it was sooooo expensive. I thought when I saw it that it would be great recreated in clay and so here it is. I made this today while I babysat the bisque kiln, and we all know how much I love doing that!
I got some glazes in the mail while I was gone and this very cool underglaze stamp pad that my friend Laura turned me on to. Laura also gave me the Asian stamps so I played around with those today on a few test trays. Doesn't it seem like all I ever make are test pieces? One of these days I am going to know everything and there will be no more testing. That will be on that cold day in H.e.l.l. (haha!)

I also spent part of the day organizing my templates into nice little packets instead of them being tossed all over my workspace. Now I can actually find one when I need it. When I am firing my kiln I have to stay close by so that I can turn it up and watch it since it's all manual, so it's good to have some projects that aren't too involved or distracting. I cleaned up my glaze area too, so I'm already for glazing tomorrow!

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Judith

Here are some of Judith's yunomi in honor of the AKAR show.

Judith's bowls are thick and wood fired, perfect. She used a short piece of nylon rope for the patterning on the rim of this bowl. Such a nice texture for wood fired shinos.
Blogger is pissing me off, it is taking so long to load these pics. All for now...........

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Judith Duff

I clipped a photo of a tray and ewer like this years ago for my journal before I even knew who Judith Duff was. I love her work and I'm a huge fan. I went up to Surry County near the NC mountains yesterday for a two day workshop. Unfortunately I got the times mixed up, made it to the lecture last night and the class today but yesterday I missed the first part of the workshop.
Today, Judith showed us a video she made while in Japan and she talked a lot about shinos and her process, firing wood kilns and lots of stories from her time in Japan. She was mostly finishing up work from the demos yesterday, but I did pick up a lot of helpful hints from her and again I want a gas kiln to fire shino! My mantra is becoming, "one day".........
Here are some shots of things Judith brought and things she made. I'll try to post more this week, I'm just tired of waiting for blogger to upload my pics and want to go have a nice long bath. I camped in my van at Richard Montgomery's place last night and drove home in the rain today so I need a good warm soak.
This bowl has a great rope texture that was a demo from yesterday. The ewer also from yesterday so I haven't a clue how it was made, well I sort of do, but I would have to work it out. Cute though isn't it!

Judith hand trims her cups and throws very loosely. Don't you just love the crawl on that Chawan?! More pics later, promise :)